NHTSA Looks to Implement Artificial "Minimum Sound" Output for Hybrids/EVs
January 7, 2013 4:05 PM
The NHTSA will require new vehicles in the 2016 model year to have these sounds applied
A new proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that quiet vehicles be equipped with sounds to
when they're nearby.
Vehicles like hybrids and EVs are quiet when traveling at low speeds because they don't rely on traditional gas engines. Hence, many pedestrians (especially the visually impaired), cannot hear them coming and can get hurt.
To remedy this issue, the NHTSA is proposing that all quiet vehicles like hybrids and EVs (and even electric motorcycles and heavy-duty vehicles) have
minimum sound levels
when traveling under 18 MPH. Even quiet vehicles emit a sound when going over that speed limit.
"Our proposal would allow manufacturers the flexibility to design different sounds for different makes and models while still providing an opportunity for pedestrians, bicyclists and the visually impaired to detect and recognize a vehicle and make a decision about whether it is safe to cross the street," said David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator.
Automakers will be allowed to choose from a variety of sounds to use for their vehicles, but each vehicle of the same make and model must have the same sound and must meet minimum volume requirements.
The NHTSA will require new vehicles in the 2016 model year to have these sounds applied. The auto industry will have to pay about $23 million the first year to implement the sounds, and about $35 per vehicle.
A bill was proposed in April 2009 in the Senate that would force hybrid/EV automakers to integrate a system that would
when the vehicles are running on electric power alone.
The NHTSA has a few other projects and proposals it's working on as well. Last month,
the White House Office of Management Budget completed its review of the NHTSA's proposal for making
event data recorders (EDRs)
required in all new vehicles. The proposal suggests increasing the number of new vehicles with EDRs from 91.6 percent today to 100 percent of light-duty cars and trucks.
The Detroit News
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